Over the last decade the adoption and growth of solar power has soared. There is an assortment of different pieces that have factored into the rise of solar. Many governments and organizations have set clean energy targets, and are switching over to renewable energies, such as solar. Fossil fuel prices are unpredictable and can vary based on political volatility. Solar power also is a clean and viable alternative to fossil fuels. As a result, the price of solar has decreased.
What if there was a new solar technology that made solar energy a whole magnitude cheaper and more efficient?
NovaSolix is developing a new solar device that will generate the cleanest and cheapest form of energy on Earth by converting all light in the solar spectrum. NovaSolix’s carbon nanotube (CNT) antennas are small/thin enough to match the nano-scale wavelengths of sunlight. Their antennas can convert the electromagnetic spectrum much more efficiently than photovoltaic (PV) cells, achieving near 90% efficiency (versus around 20% for current PV). Their technology inherently has a higher energy density. Not only does NovaSolix compete on cost and efficiency, but NovaSolix also competes on durability.
How NovaSolix Works
To put the technology into perspective, today’s solar technology is based upon the photovoltaic effect. As a photon approaches an electron, if the photon has the required minimum energy, it can “knock” the electron, across a “PN” junction which creates an electric current. Instead of viewing light as photons, light can be viewed as waves of electromagnetic radiation. NovaSolix is creating antennae that to take full advantage of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum – their technology is compatible with a wide range of frequencies, as low as infrared light and as high as ultraviolet light. On top of that, their antennae can also convert weak light to power.
The Future of the Market
The market for solar power is huge – the global solar energy market was valued at $52.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $223.3 billion by 2026. The solar market today is almost all PV. There is room for many players in the solar market, and demand will only continue to grow.
Some trends that are driving innovation include cost per watt, longevity, and that PV solar is the cheapest source of power today. Opportunities for improvement in the space include reducing installation time, reducing land usage, reducing material usage, and increasing energy efficiency/density. When decreasing the number of panels, that creates an impact along the whole supply chain – from the manufacturing of the panel to final installation, meaning that less material is processed and shipped. NovaSolix is leading the way for innovation in the PV space by greatly increasing the energy density of solar.
About The Author
Co-Founder at The Impact
Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His original assignment was to maintain and update facility safety documentation for all facilities on-site, and perform risk analysis. Over time, his role has expanded to leading continuous improvement efforts through product management.
Concurrently, Daniel volunteers with Techstars, helping organize startup weekends, and with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, organizing events on the local and national levels of the organization. He also volunteers with One World, and previously with Powerhouse Ventures, to source and screen startups for potential investment.
Daniel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis, and recently completed coursework in energy innovation from Stanford. His passion is at the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and business.